This week I have been sending pitch letters for my ghostwriting/speechwriting services to California public relations agencies. Two explicit "nos" came in. Usually a lack of interest is transmitted by no response. Since the two had taken the time to say "no" directly I decided to ask for feedback. I did that with humility, acknowledging that I was taking their time but that their input could help future pitches.
Essentially, what they communicated was that I was selling my track record - client list and publication credits - not how I could help them in unique ways. The ah-ha moment was immediate. The client list and the publication credits are what sold my service on the East Coast. Obviously, on the West Coast the pitch has to configured differently.
I will try different approaches. For the next six months I will keep away from the California market. I will pitch in Texas and Colorado.
The funny thing is that when answering actual ads for services placed by California organizations I have been hitting most of the time. Because I had an actual assignment description to go on I could frame my pitch to that unique specific need.